Hope Your Heart Needs by Holley Gerth Review

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Description

Understanding more of God’s character and how he loves us changed bestselling author Holley Gerth’s life in beautiful, powerful ways. She realized that she didn’t have to settle for “I’m fine” when there was someone whispering to her in every moment, “You’re mine.” The hope, joy, peace, and purpose she longed for were already there, in the heart of God.

Now in 52 devotional readings, Holley shares with women the answer to the restlessness they feel in their hearts that keeps them hurrying, striving, pushing. She shows them that “the God who scattered stars like diamonds across the velvet of the universe, the keeper of every sparrow, the maker of us all, is inviting us to draw closer to him. He is the place where our hearts can go on the hard days and the happy ones, in the highs and lows, when we are sad or frustrated or downright giddy. He is what we’ve been searching for all along.”

My Thoughts

This devotional is wonderful for the days when hope can be hard to find. Broken down into 52 entries, each one is based on an aspect of God’s character. They can be read in order or out of order based on what you feel called to read.

I picked this book up to read during a time of uncertainty based on some medical issues I’ve been experiencing and it was great to go to the table of contents and choose entries based on my needs (Comforter, Healer, Refuge). Holley’s writing is very relateable. She relays personal stories along with stories and lessons from scripture in a way that is enjoyable to read but also packs a big punch in a few pages.

This is a great devotional to pick up during times when hope is needed but also during times when time is short because each devotional is only about 4-5 pages long.

I also love the presentation of the book. It’s a small size that would fit nicely in a purse and the cover is very pretty. This would make a great gift.

I recommend this book to anyone who needs a daily dose of hope.

My Rating

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I received this book from the publisher tor review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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A Secret to Die For by Lisa Harris Review

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Synopsis

Psychologist Grace Callahan has no idea that she has a secret–one worth killing for. But when she finds out one of her clients has been murdered, she quickly realizes that the computer security specialist wasn’t simply suffering from paranoia.

Detective Nate Quinn has just been cleared for active duty after a bombing killed eighteen people, including his partner, and left him dealing with PTSD. His first case back on the job involves the murder of Stephen Shaw, and his only lead turns out to be an old friend, Grace Callahan–and her life is in grave danger. Someone believes Shaw gave his psychologist information before he died. Information they are willing to kill for.

With her signature pulse-pounding suspense, Lisa Harris takes readers deep into the heart of fear in this race against the clock.

My Thoughts

This story was full of action and adventure. The characters are in a race against time as they try to save themselves and the country from being destroyed.

The action scenes were interesting but I found them to be a bit too much after a while. At times the situations seemed unrealistic. I also found (in this book and many other romantic suspense Christian fiction books) that even when their lives are in danger and they are running from people who want to kill them, the characters are focusing on their romantic feelings for each other. This trope drives me crazy and feels extremely forced and ridiculous. I found myself skimming the scenes where the characters were pondering over their feelings of adoration for each other (while being chased by murderers!).

The pacing of the story was swift and there were no moments where the story lagged but for me it was just okay. Fans of romance and action may like this book.

My Rating

2.5 stars

I received this book to review from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar Review

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Synopsis:

In 1943 Germany, Helene is just about to wake up her children to go to school when a group of policemen break into her house. The policemen want to haul away her gypsy husband and their five children. The police tell Helene that as a German she does not have to go with them, but she decides to share the fate of her family. After convincing her children that they are going off to a vacation place, so as to calm them, the entire family is deported to Auschwitz.

For being German, they are settled in the first barracks of the Gypsy Camp. The living conditions are extremely harsh, but at least she is with her five children. A few days after their arrival, Doctor Mengele comes to pay her a visit, having noticed on her entry card that she is a nurse. He proposes that she direct the camp’s nursery. The facilities would be set up in Barrack 29 and Barrack 31, one of which would be the nursery for newborn infants and the other for children over six years old.

Helene, with the help of two Polish Jewish prisoners and four gypsy mothers, organizes the buildings. Though Mengele provides them with swings, Disney movies, school supplies, and food, the people are living in crowded conditions under extreme conditions. And less than 400 yards away, two gas chambers are exterminating thousands of people daily.

For sixteen months, Helene lives with this reality, desperately trying to find a way to save her children. Auschwitz Lullaby is a story of perseverance, of hope, and of strength in one of the most horrific times in history.

My Thoughts:

This book tells the story of Helen Hannemann, a German woman married to a man of Romani heritage, who goes with her husband and children to Auschwitz by her own choosing and is asked to organize a school and nursery in the camp. Based on a true person in history, this story was full of chilling details and shows how strong the bond is between a mother and her children as well as how scary humans can be.

The author wastes no time getting into the story, I never felt like there were unnecessary details or that the story dragged. The descriptions of the train ride and the experiences in Auschwitz were so vivid that I almost felt like I was watching a movie.

The fact that this story is based on things that actually happened in history made this story even more disturbing and terrifying. Some of the things that occurred in this book would have seemed unrealistic or far-fetched to me had I not known that they were based on true facts.

It is sad to see how mob mentality and power, along with brainwashing and a lot of satanic influence can change people. Although these types of books are not easy or fun to read, they are very important because history is something we should remember, so that we don’t allow it to repeat itself.

The writing was superb, the translation was very smooth, and the story moved at a great pace. I highly recommend this book!

My Rating:

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I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson Review

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Synopsis

From the award-winning author of Catching the Wind, which Publishers Weekly called “unforgettable” and a “must-read,” comes another gripping time-slip novel about hidden treasure, a castle, and ordinary people who resisted evil in their own extraordinary way.
The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan―even their very lives―in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

My Thoughts

This story, although fictional, is based on a true period in history. The time that it portrays was a very dark, scary time where evil seemed to be reigning. There are some gritty scenes in the story that are difficult to read but the author did well at giving enough information to explain the situation without getting too graphic.

The story is a time slip style that jumps between past and present and in each time period, new things are revealed about the other. The mysteries surrounding Annika and an old copy of Bambi were very intriguing and I was eager to learn the truth about them.

I didn’t care for the present day story line as much, with the exception of the revealing of information about the past. The characters in the present didn’t really interest me and I found myself a little disappointed when I was taken out of the past.

Although this was a difficult story to read, there was still some glimmers of hope found in the pages…the gospel was presented well and the way people came together to help each other was very touching.

I would highly recommend this story.

My Rating

4.5 stars

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids by Sandy Silverthorne

 

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Description

Any kid can be a comedian with a little help from award-winning author/illustrator Sandy Silverthorne’s Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids. Perfect for kids ages 6-12, this zany collection of one-liners (Did you hear about the missing barber? Police are combing the city.), knock-knock jokes (Knock, Knock. Who’s there? Pizza. Pizza who? Pizza nice guy, don’t you think?), riddles (What’s red and goes up and down? A tomato in an elevator.), puns, and funny lists represents some of the world’s best clean humor. Add in the author’s hilarious illustrations and cartoons, and kids will get hours of fun with the kind of laughs that make milk come out your nose–that is, if you’re drinking milk while you read!

My Thoughts

This is a very fun joke book for kids. All jokes are clean and appropriate for all ages. Some are a bit cheesy (for adults) but they’re definitely the type that kids would love. There are different types of jokes…riddles, knock-knock jokes, story type jokes, and puns. I had a joke book similar to this when I was just learning to read and it was such fun to entertain my family and friends with my silly jokes.

Making people laugh makes people feel good about themselves. This book would also help early or reluctant readers to practice their reading out loud skills. I highly recommend this fun, clean joke book!

My Rating

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I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.